Weight and Resistance Training - Question about lifting weights?

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09-14-2011, 08:43 PM
Okay so my usually routine at the gym is the elliptical for 40 minutes and then every other day I add weights to the mix. Right now my main goal is to shed pounds and I know muscle weighs more than fat. If I am doing weights every other workout is that going to make the number on the scale decline slower?

09-14-2011, 09:11 PM
Weight lifting can be extremely useful in terms of weight loss, or actually, more specifically, FAT loss.

One thing you do need to realize about weight lifting, though, is that it can cause water retention (and actually if you do it right, it should cause water retention because your body retains water while your body heels the muscles you tore during lifting). The heeling process makes you burn even more calories so while you could see a higher number on the scale the next day, you ARE losing fat in the process and it is nothing to freak out about.

What I have found with my own body is that lifting can cause "plateaus" BUT I'm losing inches like crazy during those plateaus. Right now I'm at least a size smaller than I previously was at this same weight. Clothes that used to fit just fine when I was 5lbs lighter years ago are already getting to big for me. I'm still losing weight in the process but I'm also losing inches quicker than I did in the past.

Like Brown said, muscle gain is a SLOW process so a 5lb gain on the scale is not muscle (unless you're on steriods!). However, it certainly can be water weight (the real test is to take you measurements often).

One thing to note, though, is look at what all the top trainers do on TV. The trainers on the Biggest Loser and Heavy are incorporating A LOT of weights in to the contestants exercise routine and they are lifting heavy! Clearly, it works. You don't have to do the same level as them to get good results. :D

Oh, one other thing. If you want to maximize your calorie burn during exercising due the weights first and do cardio second. You end up burning more calories that way.

09-14-2011, 11:00 PM
Wow great info thanks so much!

09-14-2011, 11:22 PM
Thanks a lot. I too liked your answer.
Only thing I did not understood is why do weights first and then cardio? How can you burn more calories doing so?

09-14-2011, 11:26 PM
You are not going to gain enough muscle to see a big change on the scale. The "Muscle weighs more than fat" argument is just to explain how someone who looks smaller than someone else can be heavier than they are. It's often misused by people who think their scale shows the 5 lb gain because they walked around the block 3 times this week.

Thank you for saying this - all too often I see people griping about a gain on the scale and it just gets written off as muscle gain.

09-15-2011, 06:52 AM
Thanks a lot. I too liked your answer.
Only thing I did not understood is why do weights first and then cardio? How can you burn more calories doing so?


That link has a fairly good summary of it but it basically boils down to you being too tired to get a good weight lifting session after cardio. One very important thing to do if you want to build muscle is to lift heavy so that after your last rep you don't feel like you could do anymore.

Now, as always there are exceptions. For instance, if you're training for a race or you do very low impact cardio first. Also, you can find more detailed explanations here: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/topicoftheweek34.htm

Some people argue that it's better to do them on separate days (personally, I don't have time for that, though!).

09-15-2011, 12:23 PM
I just see gaining muscle as increasing my goal weight. I am looking for a certain body fat percentage (<10%) rather than a particular weight. Adding muscle would bring me closer to my goal.

09-15-2011, 01:13 PM
you dont "burn more calories" lifting first... however, you SHOULD lift first if you are diong cardio and weights together..... Weightlifting is an anaerobic process... it cant utilize fat oxidation and must tap into stored glycogen for energy....... you use up the glycogen (some of it, all of it, whatever), and move onto cardio, which is generall aerobic in nature. you also et more out of your lifts doing them first, which means lifting heavier, which means building more muscle which means more fat burned, however you wanna look at it

09-25-2011, 08:26 PM
what about if you lift ealy in the am then do cardio at night after work? does that matter?